Monthly Archives: February 2016

A different view

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Concord Library is currently featuring the work of artist Lilian Lai.

Included in the exhibition is a beautiful landscape featuring Gladesville Bridge.

Lilian comments on the painting, ‘The Gladesville Bridge is often forgotten with Sydney having the famous ‘coat hanger’. Many of us would never know that it is one of only four projects in Australia to receive the International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, the world’s highest engineering award. For me, its sleek lines lends itself well into Sydney’s quite remarkable harbour landscape. I have painted this landscape in my contemporary xieyi (literally ‘writing intention’) style on Chinese rice paper mounted on canvas. I hope it conveys the economic beauty of this outstanding bridge in the midst of the harbour which is so much of Sydney.’

Lilian, who came from Malaysia to Sydney in 1988, is an active member of the Australian Chinese Painting Society and has exhibited widely, winning several awards for her work.

The paintings are on display at Concord Library until 28 February, then at Five Dock Library until 20 March 2016. Lilian’s workshop for children at Five Dock Library can be seen on flickr.

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Champion of the World

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In 1875 Edward Trickett won the sculling World Championship on the River Thames, England to become Australia’s first world champion in any sport. Between 1876 and 1907 seven of the world champions were from New South Wales: Trickett, Bill Beach, Peter Kemp, Henry Searle, Jim Stanbury, John McLean and George Towns. Several championship races were held on the Parramatta River.

In July 1905 the then World Champion George Towns was challenged by Jim Stanbury for a prize of £500. The race started at Homebush Bay and finished at Abbotsford, a distance of about 5,100 metres. Stanbury won the race in a time of 19 minutes 50 seconds to became World Champion. It was estimated that up to 150,000 spectators crowded the shoreline and watched from ferries and boats. Crowds were enormous at Cabarita and Abbotsford. Stanbury’s victory was short-lived with Towns reclaiming the title the following year.

Local Studies recently received a donation of a booklet, Harbour and river pleasure resorts, published by Sydney Ferries Limited (1908) which includes a photograph of ‘Towns and Stanbury on the Parramatta River’, probably showing the race near the start in Homebush Bay.

See also the earlier blog post Rowing on the Parramatta River.